The Gifted Hands Homeshool Interact Club, which is one of the 93 Interact clubs we now have in our Rotary district, was recently featured in The Fountain Hills Times for their work in collecting crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs and other mobility devices for Interact District 5495’s Crutches 4 Africa Project. The devices will be wrapped and packed for shipping to Kenya by an expected 500 Interact and Rotaract members who will be participating in the Interact District Conference, being hosted on February 24, by the Interact Club of Perry High School in Gilbert.
Last year, our Interact District selected and sent four of the top Interactors in Arizona to Kenya for two weeks to help our international Interact, Rotaract and Rotary partners in that country distribute mobility devices, collected by our clubs last year, to those who have been crippled by polio. While the Interact-sponsored Purple Pinkie Days, that raise funds for the vaccine to help prevent new cases of polio, may be too late to help those who have already been victimized by the disease, the Interactors remind us that we can still do something for those victims—giving them the invaluable gift of mobility. This year, the Interactors are working on raising $20,000 to ship another 40-foot container of these devices to Kenya, and to provide the air fare and insurance, plus other trip expenses, to send a larger team of five Arizona Interact Ambassadors to Kenya this summer to help with the distribution.
Interact District Governor Loralli Johnson, who was one of the four Interactors sent to Kenya this past summer, is featured in a brief, but powerful, video that every Rotary club in our district should see.
Interact clubs, for youth ages 12-to-18, must be sponsored by a Rotary club, but they can be either campus-based or community-based clubs. In addition to this homeschool club, we have among our community-based clubs in our district three Interact clubs that are based in Boys & Girls Clubs. One of the advantages of community-based clubs is they can draw from students who are being homeschooled, those who are in charter schools and those enrolled in Internet-based programs. Some of our most exciting and dynamic clubs are our growing number of middle school and junior high Interact clubs. Interact is, in fact, the fastest-growing segment of Rotary. The November issue of The Rotarian magazine documents the fact that, while Rotary clubs lost 15,369 members worldwide during the month of October, Interact clubs gained 12,673 members that month, and Rotaract clubs gained 7,452. The Rotarian says that Rotary now has more than a half million Interact members around the globe.